Dry, with the endless dry tension of will, they too were wearing out

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 376, chapter 17) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie was in Paris. She felt a bit of sensuality still in Paris and people there were weary, worn-out and mechanical ……)

How weary they were! weary, worn-out for lack of a little tenderness, given and taken. The efficient, sometimes charming women(maybe referring to prostitutes or general French) knew a thing or two about the sensual realities: they had that pull over their jigging English sisters. But they knew even less of tenderness. Dry, with the endless dry(?) tension of will, they too were wearing out(=were tired).


I know were wearing out=were tired/exhausted, but what does dry tension of will mean please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I know were wearing out=were tired/exhausted, :cross:
    I know were wearing out = were becoming tired/exhausted, :tick:

    what does dry tension of will mean
    Will (n.) = an internal compulsion that acts upon the mind to cause the mind to act in a particular way - in this case, to cause the mind (and thus, actions) to conform to an image of the women that is expected by society but that is, ultimately, artificial1.

    Dry = unemotional; passionless.

    Tension = the effect of stress that has been brought about by the conflict of the interior compulsion to be free and the exterior compulsion to behave in a certain manner.

    1 according to Lawrence/Connie.
     
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't go along with the prostitutes reference, mainly because:
    1. It is highly unlikely that Connie would have been talking about prostitutes, who would never expect or be expected to show this 'tenderness'. I should think there were just as many in London as in Paris.

    2. Upper-class Parisians were notoriously relaxed in sexual mores and sophistication compared with the British who were just as notoriously inhibited. "No sex, please! We're British". British food at this time was as bad as the sex, compared with the refinements of French cooking.

    This reminds me of the old quip about the ideal world in which the lovers and chefs would be French, the police would be British and the Germans would run transport systems, while Italians did all the singing.
    I don't know exactly what DHL meant about not being Americanised - there was certainly plenty of American music, jazz, in Paris in the 1920's. He had a lot of dismal things to say about America as part of his philosophy, with some interesting comments about how it would be the first country to descend into 'anarchy'. (Makes one reflect "The more things change ..." :( )
    I can't understand the political aspects of Lawrence's thought without doing a huge amount of background studying. Some of this language can surely be literally translated?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I cannot see that Connie/Lawrence is speaking about prostitutes. Connie/Lawrence is speaking of general day-to-day attitudes to life and making a comparison with her (Lawrence's) observations of England and impressions of America.

    Lawrence's main complaint about "life" was its artificiality that pervaded all strata of society - He is continuing his broad argument through Connie.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    OK. But how can we understand efficient ?
    Here(in post five), it's explained as:
    Their "efficiency", in this context, would be their ability to quickly offer sexual satisfaction to a man:oops:
    Some of this language can surely be literally translated?
    No, on many occasions, I have to use a Chinese way so that readers can understand the intened meanings(including the hidden ones)of Lawrence
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top